My life is changing again. It’s not a new job. It’s not a new man. It’s a whole new Country. Well, lots of new Countries really. I’m going travelling. Oh yes I am.
This seed of an idea was planted by one of my oldest friends about 18 months ago. She informed me that, after her masters’ degree was complete, she was strolling away from the UK as fast as she could manage. More over, she asked “Why don’t you come with me?”.
My initial reaction to leaving London and the UK was basically in “Don’t be so soft. I’m not leaving!”. Then I stopped to think about it. I actually have no commitments in the UK. No husband, no children, no mortgage, no career to speak of (although my bosses would have disagreed on that one), nothing. The important things to me in the UK are friends and family and they tend to be quite understanding unlike (I imagine) spouses/children/bank managers etc would be.
So, after thinking a little more seriously, I asked myself the standard deal making/breaking question “If I don’t go, will I be an old lady sat in a nursing home wishing she’d gone?”. The answer is yes. Yes, I would. I would be an incredibly crotchety old lady in a home if I sat thinking “I should have” rather than “I shouldn’t have”/”That was a bloody stupid thing to do”. This is the question I ask myself before I do anything ridiculous (e.g. my tattoo, I adore it now but in forty years, I may well not). I would recommend this question to anyone pondering ‘big’ decisions in their life. It’s always the one that sorts my indecisive tendencies out. Anyway, I digress.
I knew for certain what my final decision was on my birthday this year. I sat opening my cards from friends and family over breakfast and suddenly, it hit me. I am in my late twenties. I have to get cracking if I’m going to get through everything on the ‘list’ before I die. That was that. I knew it was now or never to go travelling. I handed in my notice at work two days later.
Approximately two weeks ago, I completed my final day at work and moved away from London. Absolute insanity! I’m now in Hong Kong with my oldest friend and, sort of, ready for whatever adventures come my way.
The logistical side of this has not been hard to deal with. I am the Organisation Queen. Miss List. Lady Logistics. Whatever you want to call me. The killer for me has been leaving life in London, which I love. I had never had it so good! I’d worked hard for my life in London. I put a lot into that City to get the best out of it and I’d just got myself sitting pretty on a job which I didn’t hate, a fabulous group of friends, amazing hobbies and interests which were opening up new opportunities every day and just the best social scene you might ever imagine. Life was really good. I mean, really good. That is why I felt as though my heart might break to leave it all, if only temporarily.
I grew up in a town and knew I didn’t really fit in. I didn’t fit at University either. Neither did I fit at my first graduate job. The pieces never all slotted together. Either the circumstances were right and the place was wrong or the circumstances were wrong and the people were right (so on and so forth).
It always felt like an immense struggle to achieve any balance between the different aspects of life that make it worth living. It didn’t matter how much effort you throw at some places, and how hard you work, some things just won’t ever mesh. London took a little while to form a base but when it did, it was glorious. I built my life faster than I thought was possible. It’s a stunning thing to feel like you really fit somewhere and that’s how my life in London made me feel. I’m sure I will feel the same when I return but that didn’t make leaving it any easier. I cried when I moved away. I cried when I travelled through it on the train to get to Gatwick. I cried waiting at the gate for my flight out of Gatwick. I cried as the plane took off. I finally stopped crying when I was forty or so thousand feet in the air.
I know it sounds ridiculous but that’s just how it goes. I will miss my friends and family horribly but I did my crying about that while I was still with them. It’s odd to lament like this about a City that will still be there in a couple of years.
It’s been a fantastic year to be in London! The Queen’s Jubilee. The Mayoral Election. The Olympics. I mean, London has had it going ON this past year and I’ve been there for all of it. I only hope it holds as much wonder when I return.